Clones of American Girl® Dolls

18" ethnic dolls of color for children

A selection of Black, Biracial, Multicultural, Asian and other ethnic 18 inch dolls

It started with a simple phone call:

“Do you have any Black American Girl® Dolls?”

And although I did have one (a clone by  Madame Alexander called ‘Oh So Groovy’), I didn’t realize it at the time and said “sorry, I don’t, but American Girl dolls are beautiful and very well made and I’m pretty sure they have a Black one.” Being in the doll business you know darn well that I knew about the phenomena that is American Girl dolls!

But I was shocked by her answer… “I don’t want a Slave Girl doll for my daughter!”

[In case you didn’t know, American Girl Dolls are exclusive to American Girl stores and their website, or in the aftermarket like Ebay. Mattel does not allow any other stores to carry them.]

The doll she was referring to of course was American Girl’s Addy, who is marketed by American Girl as an escaped slave of the Civil War era.

Today of course 18″ American Girl Doll clones are available everywhere, including PattycakeDoll.com, so there are lots more choices. But for us, then, it all started with a phone call.

Why you need a Doll’s Hair Brush

Hairbrush for Dolls Hair

A Typical Doll’s Hair Brush

Last week we blogged about Bald Barbie, which kinda leads us to this week’s post: dolls with hair, and specifically, the doll’s hair brush

If you daughter has a doll with hair, she needs a doll’s hair brush. Why? Because if your daughter doesn’t have a doll’s hair brush, she will use her own hair brush on the doll and transfer the natural hair oils that keep her hair looking healthy and shiny, to the doll’s hair. And you don’t want that.

On our Doll’s Hair Care page at the Pattycake Doll Company’s web site, we offer hints on how to clean doll hair, but we think it’s better if you don’t have to go down that path in the first place.

A doll’s hair brush is a little different than your child’s hairbrush. It should have metal tines, and no rubber tips… the better to slip through the synthetic doll hair. And because doll’s heads are smaller, doll’s hair brushes are smaller too.

PS: Our doll hair care page also teaches your daughter ‘how to brush a doll’s hair,’ so that she doesn’t break too many strands or helplessly tangle her doll’s hair and ruin it.

Bald Barbie: Bad Idea

Bald Barbie Doll Cancer

  Bald Barbie Why it probably won’t happen

We love the idea of a bald Barbie, we love the idea of making a doll that helps children who are bald – for whatever the reason – have a doll they can identify with. So in our hearts it’s a great idea!

But as a business owner we can only say that Bald Barbies are a bad idea. The market is not big enough to support them. For Mattel it would be a manufacturer’s nightmare… Barbie’s hair is ‘rooted’ meaning that the heads have holes to attach the hair to. So it’s not just ‘no hair,’ they’d have to make the heads with no holes… in other words a whole other manufacturing line dedicated to a teensy-tiny market.

And of course they would need Bald Black Barbies, multicultural Bald Barbies maybe bald Kens too, right?

Actually what would make more sense (to me) is another Mattel brand: American Girl Dolls… already a highly customizable doll, with very healthy profit margins, Mattel could probably do a Bald American Girl doll a lot easier than Barbie.

My Suggestion? While you’re waiting for the ‘not likely,’ hunt up a ‘Reborn Doll’ artist on Ebay or Etsy. Reborn Doll artists transform dolls every day… anything you can imagine, from amputations to baldness to tracheotomy or chemo feeds can be easily made by those artists. And it won’t cost much either.

Golliwog – A Black Racist Doll?

A Golliwog Doll

A modern Golliwog doll

This is a Golliwog Doll. A simple sack of cloth filled with stuffing. For generations of children a beloved doll. But today, this Black doll has been turned into a racial negative.

How did this happen? How does a simple cloth doll that was loved for decades become a symbol of racism?

The doll didn’t change. Golliwogs today look much the same as they did 120 years ago when they were introduced as a character in The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls by Florence Kate Upton in 1895 my sources.

Golliwog - illustration by Florence Kate Upton

Golliwog – illustration by Florence Kate Upton

And she based the Golliwog doll on one she had owned as a child in the 1870’s. So what changed?  Let’s just say “The Times Changed.” It’s about as accurate an answer as there is for a simple doll store owner like myself.

But I would ask you: “As a doll lover, am I allowed to love Golliwog Dolls too? Can I love the doll while admitting that it is no longer a socially acceptable image? What do you think?

The Different Kinds of Dolls

The Pattycake Doll Company carries over 400 different dolls,  but we are still really only a small doll specialty store.We specialize in about a half-dozen categories, but we thought might find our (admittedly incomplete) list of dolls interesting:

Rag Dolls – Celebrity Dolls – Baby Dolls – Boy Dolls
Collectible Dolls – Potty Training Dolls – Waldorf Dolls
Home made dolls – Corn Husk Dolls – Apple head dolls
Baby’s First Dolls – Fashion Dolls – Ball Joint Dolls
Puppets – Paper Dolls – Art Dolls – Reborning Dolls
18″ Dolls – Plush Character and Licensed Dolls
Anatomically Correct Dolls – Drink and Wet Dolls
Pillow Dolls – Bath Dolls – Antique Dolls
Hair Styling Dolls – Water Babies – Learn to Dress
Bath Dolls – Barbie Dolls – Animated Dolls – Musical Dolls
Doll House Dolls – Action Figures – Special Needs Dolls
Kachina Dolls – Kokeshi Dolls

And of course there are many subcategories within these!